Everybody who is anybody on the world wide web has at least heard of responsive web design. According to most, this ingenious designing method will change mobile sites forever. What responsive design does, is to help a regular wide-screen layout change according to the type of device on which it is displayed. This means that instead of having one big block in which webmasters insert their visual, video and written content, they can break down the page into smaller, more flexible boxes that move around in order to better suite the screen of a smartphone, tablet or PC.
Why is Responsive Design Important?
Responsive design has been praised by many. Some actually consider it to be the Messiah of future sites. While I agree that it is a fascinating and innovative approach, it still has several drawbacks. The truth is, that RWD is the first attempt that was made to bring order, in what is still a chaotic browser based universe. Moreover, according to recent studies, it is predicted that for the first time in a long time, laptops and desktops will drop in sales.
It is no surprise that most webmasters are trying to create a mobile versions of their site, because the modern man no longer has time to waste in front of the computer. We are always on the move, forever connected, and constantly trying to access information. Mobile SEO is still fresh, and this means that there are a lot of opportunities to be had. Nevertheless, when it comes to mobile-sites there are a few things to consider. Responsive design isn’t the ultimate solution to your problem. Like every technology, it has its pros and cons, and it may benefit some more than others. You will have to figure out if RWD is indeed what your web-page needs, and if it isn’t, you can stick to traditional mobile design.
The Benefits of Responsive Web Design
There is no denying the strong grip that the internet has on us. Social Media platforms have become serious addictions, e-mails have become the most convenient way of communicating, and shopping online has become a necessity. This is why smartphones, iPads, tablets, netbooks and kindles are this year’s hottest accessories. There’s no telling what might appear next year, but all we know is that the possibility of accessing information anytime, anywhere will result in incredible new inventions, and innumerable opportunities.
I believe that responsive design is the life-support of future websites, for various reasons. First of all, it can adapt to the requirements of any type of screen. Secondly, it will enable a page that doesn’t have a mobile site already, to preserve all its information. If you were to create a mobile version of your page, you would have to start building from ground up. In other words, you would loose a lot of precious information. Thanks to RWD, you will no longer have to transfer hundreds and thousands of articles, or photos, because with a little efforts, you can solve the problem.
The Downsides of Responsive Web Design
Alas, every great invention has its drawbacks, and responsive design is no exception to the rules. Although it promises flexibility and amazing user experience, there are a few things that might not benefit the us.
- It Lacks Speed:
The first major downside has to do with speed. We are very much aware that in the internet world, even a second of delay might anger a potential client. Moreover, speed and navigability are essential, especially if you are running an eCommerce site. According to recent studies, a responsive design page is seven times slower than a dedicated one, and this is a recipe for disaster. Nevertheless, there are solutions that might remedy the problem. I am talking about optimizations and tweaks. For example, you don’t have to transfer the entire desktop version of your page. You can give up on certain features, in order to increase your load speed.
- It is Difficult to Implement:
We have the tendency of becoming over-excited every time we hear about something new, and although we are optimistic that responsive design can enhance the overall value of a site, there are still not enough trained professionals to do the job. Responsive design requires an extremely knowledgeable specialist, who has had a lot of experience with design patterns, SEO and even HTML5. On the downside, even if this person manages to create the page of your dreams, there are still unforeseen bugs that might appear due to the dynamic nature of RWD.
- It is not Ideal for Feature-Driven Sites
We recommend that you use responsive design for pages that have a lot of content, may it be visual or written. Every time a visitor clicks your website, he is expecting a fully-functioning page. In other words, he wants to be able to click on things, and navigate with ease. If you were to take into consideration this fact, then the obvious choice would be a traditional framework development, or a RWD size with numberless tweaks, optimizations and gimmicks that may be done in CSS or JavaScrips.
All in all, the type of design that you will chose for your website depends on the type of website that you want to create. Think about your target audience, devise a long-term strategy, and take into consideration all the possibilities. Due to its increasing popularity, chances are that code libraries, tools and new features will be made available. This will make the implementation of RWD more comfortable and lucrative.
Author Bio: Paul has been working for one digital agency or another ever since graduating from college. He writes on SEO and SMM topics whenever he can find some spare time.